Save Glen Abbey from destruction and development
The Glen Abbey Golf Club, a site of significant cultural and natural heritage is threatened with destruction by a proposed high density development of residential, commercial and retail spaces on its limited greenspace.
Situated on the heritage-designated former Raydor Estate, the present course was designed by golf legend Jack Nicklaus in his first foray in championship course design. As of 2007, majority ownership of the club property changed to predatory property developer Rai Sahi of Morguard Corp., who as of last year called for the site's destruction.
It is Canada's most famous golf course and, for 40 years, has been home to Golf Canada and the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame. It has hosted 28 Canadian Open Championships, more than any other course, with the first having been in 1977. Many historic sports achievements have occurred on this course, including a shot by PGA star Tiger Woods regarded as the most spectacular both of Woods' career and in recent PGA Tour history.
The course in this half century has not only defined the Town of Oakville's identity, but also provides significant economic benefits for the hundreds employed in the service and hospitality sector when hosting one of the largest international sports events in all of Canada.
The proposed development calls for the significant destruction of the manicured and natural landscape, woodland canopy and rich soils to be replaced by enormous multi-level structures in a mature site expressly and historically zoned for perpetual recreational purposes. The proposal ignores the Town's significant official plan, which concentrates meaningful growth in other specified areas with transportation infrastructure and economic activity. In so doing, the developer's proposal encourages a perverse density that will overwhelm the existing Town corridors and facilities, adversely affecting neighbouring residents and businesses.
This development will disembowel the proverbial heart of Oakville, scarring its cultural and natural legacy.
The Town must oppose the destruction of Glen Abbey by recognizing the intangible value of cultural and natural heritage of preserving Glen Abbey and thereby the legacy of nature, sport and history for future generations.
We must Save Glen Abbey, the heart of Oakville and national treasure.
Serves only privilege few. Better use of land than having a golf course. Replace with homes, trails and a park is fairer and better for the community. More cost effective and more property tax income for the town.
Kevin J Smith commented
I hope that the green spaces from the Glen Abbey Golf Course will include continuing the trails from Upper Middle through to the QEW!
Ideally a continuous trail from Lions Valley Park down to Lake Ontario would be awesome!
article from a public land perspective:
by David Rickards
Corporate/Commercial Lawyer in Oakville, Ontario
Quite a few of my friends have been talking about the Glen Abbey Golf Course story.
I thought I would share some thoughts on why this is both inevitable (from a legal standpoint) and a good thing for Oakville.
The development of privately owned land for housing is controlled by the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) and effectively there is a rubber stamp for population density in the 905. Given Oakville's 2 Go Train Stations, and proximity to the QEW this project is a certainty. The town has no control over this other than negotiating a deal before the owner goes to the OMB.
The good news for Oakville is that about 40% of the Golf Course is located on public land. Most people don't know this and I know lots of long time residents who have never been on the course at all. So the public lands (complete with 5 holes) will no longer be barricaded behind the gates of a golf club.
These public lands are actually connected to the Westoak Oak Ravine and Lions Valley and combine to make up the 16 Mile Creek Valley portion that is between the 407 and QEW. With a little planning the Town of Oakville will be able to connect all three portions of this wonderful natural area and perhaps even build some trails south of the QEW as well.
Quite simply, by the time the houses are built on the front 9 there could be an easily accessed natural trail system running from the 407 to the Lake through the heart of Oakville for all of us to enjoy. With a little extra planning the waterway of 16 Mile Creek could be improved for canoe, kayak or SUP.
I see this as a great step forward for what Oakville has evolved into, and a way for more people to enjoy the natural ravine that cuts through the Town. More people will access the lower portions of this land in a weekend than normally would all summer if it was park land rather than a golf course, and that is a good thing.
Gary Mark commented
Elizabeth H:"Public trails would be welcome along the creek, all the way to the lake."
You realize that this is physically impossible, right? There's not even continuous trails from Cornwall to Randall. There's erosion prone cliffs and impassable bramble from the railway bridge at Hogg's Back Park through the meander to Glen Abbey lands. The valley lands offered represent a mere 0.04% of public open space in Oakville proper. The potential bit of trail is a fraction of what's publicly enjoyable just north in Lyons Park.
The privileged elite label is tired. Hundreds of non-member events take place at the site from weddings, Christmas parties, corporate meetings, monthly Chamber breakfasts, Mothers Day brunches to academy lessons and training. The Raydor mansion houses Golf Canada, PGA of Canada and RBC Canadian Open offices plus the Golf Hall of Fame. The Open itself attracts 40,000 spectators and employs hundreds in addition to the economic spinoffs.
Being an Oakville resident and a, very very occasional, hack golfer for over 20 years, I can say I have been to Glen Abbey once and it was when I got a free ticket when Tiger Woods played. I can't afford it there. It is an absolutely gorgeous piece of land though. That being said, it's private land. I can't afford to play there which means I can enjoy the banks of the creek or any trails there, zero. In my opinion, Glen Abbey serves the privileged few. At least if it turns into some public space with some trails along the creek, then me and my family can enjoy it. I sure hope the Town of Oakville does not spend any bad tax payer money to try to fight a lost cause against the OMB. To have public access and trails is what I would like to see and what I believe would serve the majority of Oakville families and not just the privileged few.
Elizabeth H. commented
The golf course does not serve the town but the privileged few. Public trails would be welcome along the creek, all the way to the lake.